🤷 Opinions Cyril Gilson

Crypto Comes in Spanish: At the Eve of Crypto Revolution in Latin America

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From Rio Grande to Cape Horn, the Spanish-speaking citizens of Latin America will know much faster what’s up in crypto industry
Crypto Comes in Spanish: At the Eve of Crypto Revolution in Latin America

Latin America with its over 650 mln people population has all chances to become one of the most advanced regions in the world for adoption of the next gen tech. Almost 80 percent of the people here live in cities, where technology is ubiquitous and social media are enabling new forms of engagement.

A rising middle class and an increasingly connected youth are asking for better services, more transparency, more participation, less bureaucracy and more self-government.

All that opens the way for a new budding economy born on the principles of decentralization, cutting off intermediaries and the new, unrestrained creativity.

Ripe for revolution

The crypto industry is as of yet fledgling but its potential is enormous as show the crypto communities that are actively growing in Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and other countries of the continent.

Crypto projects are getting in spotlight supported by the famous Latin American football stars like Lionel Messi in Argentina and James Rodríguez in Colombia.

“This is ... just the beginning of a great technological revolution in Latin American countries that strive for more transparency,” says Pedro Gutierrez, head of Latam Nem.io, one of the most rapidly growing platforms in Latin America.

However, the new ways of industry, commerce, education and self-government in Latin America require the new media that will report the changes in the making. That’s why we’re launching the Spanish-language edition of CryptoComes.

It is headed by crypto community activists and journalists with brilliant knowledge of Blockchain tech and their own history of successful projects. Congratulations on the launch to the editor-in-chief Sasha Ivanova, and all those on the team who are making it possible: Ángel Di Matteo, Jose “Chema” Padrón, Arnaldo “8A” Ochoa, Angelica “Keka” Rincón, Angeline Chacin, Jose Garcia, Pedro Reypuma and Germán Guismondi.

From now on, the Spanish-speaking citizens of Latin America and other parts of the globe will know much faster what’s up and new in the field. Directly in their language, they will get hot news, crypto market reviews, ICO analytics, interviews with major newsmakers, in-depth feature stories and thought-provoking opinion in line with the CryptoComes core journalistic values: clear thinking, accuracy, impartiality and independence.

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From Rio Grande to Cape Horn

The Blockchain-based companies will get a support with their arduous task of showing investors the great advantages that crypto tech brings about, which will help its wider adoption from Rio Grande to Cape Horn.

From the start, the readers will learn about the fiat money operations suspension announced by the Colombian exchange Buda.com, about the major coming events like Blockchain Summit Latam Colombia or BitcoinDay Monterrey where crypto investors and community enthusiasts could meet representatives of Rootstock, ConsenSys, Bitso and other companies. In an exclusive interview with CryptoComes Español, director of the major Latam social network Taringa! explains the details of their token sale and the roadmap.

On the educational side, Spanish-language newcomers could learn using our step-by-step trading guides, crypto tips and WikiCoin references that will help them cope with crypto economics.   

Stay tuned, amigos, and let’s build a better community together!

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🤷 Opinions Alexander Goborov

The Top Crypto Dozen by Year of Formation

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If you ever wondered whether being the first meant staying ahead of rivals, this crypto list should offer some insight
The Top Crypto Dozen by Year of Formation

We have previously brought you a fair bit of statistics, from popularity trends to age categories of Bitcoin owners. But now, why not take a step back and look at the bigger picture, as it were. ICOs come and go, prices drop and skyrocket, but who is actually leading the market? Or, more interestingly, how long have they been doing so?

Below is our latest list that offers a brief crypto history from the start of the Blockchain movement up until now:

The Top Crypto Dozen

2008: The actual, seemingly invisible starting point, the global financial crisis. Huge banking corporations, among them Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs, go bankrupt. To many, this is the glaring signal that the centralized system is failing.

2009: The crypto pioneer Bitcoin gets launched by the mystery man Satoshi Nakamoto and later adopted as the currency of choice by the infamous Silk Road. Today, with the market cap of around 111.7 billion US dollars, it is the current leader, as well as the most valued altcoin on the market (around 6 500 USD a pop).

2011: Litecoin gets launched by Charlie Lee, a former Google employee. Though the second to be featured on our list (and of very similar fintech specifications to Bitcoin), it is, actually, currently occupying the seventh position by market cap with around 3.2 billion USD.

2012: Ripple, or XRP as it is known to many, gets launched. Despite the low price of around 50 US cents per coin, Ripple is both the third one to be mentioned in our list and concurrently the third one by market cap with roughly 21 billion USD. Note that XRP cannot be mined.

2014: Dash (first called XCoin, then Darkcoin, finally getting its present name in 2015), Monero, Stellar, and Tether get launched, who are currently occupying positions twelve with 1.4 billion USD, nine with 1.85 billion USD, six with 4.8 billion USD, and ten with 1.8 billion USD respectively. The fact that four of the leading companies appear in the aftermath of the 2013 Bitcoin bubble (that continued well into 2014) is surely no coincidence.

2015: Ethereum gets launched by the Russian-Canadian programmer Vitalik Buterin. In spite of formally entering the market comparatively late in the game, six years after Bitcoin, the Ethereum platform with its native coin, Ether, is in second place by market cap today with around 22 billion USD, slightly ahead of Ripple (with just around 800 million USD in excess). Ethereum futures are said to be on the way shortly.

2017: Bitcoin Cash (through the hard fork split with Bitcoin), Cardano, and TRON get launched, who are presently occupying positions four with over 10 billion USD, eight with roughly 2 billion USD, and eleven with 1.6 billion USD respectively. Once again, the fact that we have yet another three major players that emerged out of yet another crypto bubble (with Bitcoin’s price approaching 20 000 USD in December) does not look like a coincidence either.

2018: EOS gets launched. Being the latest newcomer, it is already at the very respectable number five by market cap with just over 5 billion USD. However, very recently, EOS got accused by the Ethereum-funded research companies, ConsenSys and Whiteblock, of not being a Blockchain company and instead being a cloud-like service. This could potentially affect EOS’s global standing, but the full outcome of this scandal still remains to be seen.  

We hope you found our list helpful. Stay tuned for more.

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Why National Cryptocurrencies Like Venezuelan Petro are Doomed to Fail

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The intended obfuscation of its token sale and the entire structure of Petro by the Venezuelan government demonstrate a poor future for the cryptocurrency
Why National Cryptocurrencies Like Venezuelan Petro are Doomed to Fail

This month, the Venezuelan government led by President Nicolás Maduro unravelled the Venezuelan Petro, a state-issued cryptocurrency backed by the country’s oil reserves. The launch of the Venezuelan Petro was met with a fair volume of criticism.

On February 25, Ari Paul, the chief information officer of BlockTower Capital, a cryptocurrency hedge fund founded by a former Goldman Sachs vice president, stated that a small portion of the global cryptocurrency market is still not aware of the fundamental and structural difference between government-issued cryptocurrencies like the Venezuelan Petro, and public blockchain networks like bitcoin and Ethereum.

Crypto fiat vs. public crypto

“Venezuela, Iran, Russia, and China are the countries that indicated they're planning on launching crypto fiat soon. I fear the rise of a narrative not of crypto being used by drug dealers, but by totalitarians. You and I know crypto fiat [is not equivalent to] public crypto, but not everyone gets that,” said Paul.

“Sure, US dollar hegemony will collapse within the decade I think. But crypto fiat is an Orwellian nightmare in the hands of any state, especially the more totalitarian ones.”

Cryptocurrencies based on public blockchain networks like bitcoin and Ethereum are secure, decentralized, and robust due to their computing power, open-source development communities, and centralized entities. None of the leading public blockchain networks in the market have a single point of failure, which hackers can target to bring down the distributed network and attack the cryptocurrency.

Last week, multi-signature blockchain security company BitGo lead engineer Jameson Lopp noted that while centralized financial systems provided by banks and financial institutions closed down during the holidays, bitcoin processed more than $1 billion on a single day, and over $7 billion worth of bitcoin was traded.

The Bitcoin network has been functional for

99.992194468%

0f the time since its inception on Jan 3 2009 02:54:25 GMT

Manipulating cryptocurrencies

If a centralized entity has full control over a cryptocurrency, it has the authority and the capability of altering its monetary supply, manipulating its transaction flow, and revoking payments settled on a ledger, unless the blockchain network is made public and operated by a transparent community of developers.

For instance, in the cryptocurrency market, there exists many blockchain projects developed and managed by companies, like Ripple, Zcash, Cardano, and EOS that are valued at many billions of dollars. But, the development of these projects are transparently shared on code repositories like GitHub, and anyone can contribute to their codebases. A commercial company can lead the development of the blockchain project, but it has no control over its activities, like transaction settlement and monetary supply.

With the Venezuelan Petro, many issues regarding the monetary supply and a single point of failure could emerge. One major issue is, auditing the ratio of the Venezuelan Petro to the actual oil reserves of the country, to ensure that the government is not inflating the supply of Petro by falsely demonstrating the reserves of the country’s oil.

Uncertainty

The Venezuelan Petro’s initial coin offering (ICO) or token sale raised more than $1 billion in a short period of time. But, Matt Levine of Bloomberg emphasized that the Venezuelan Petro’s success is not expected to help the country deal with its massive debt. More importantly, there still exists confusion on the legitimacy of the country’s oil reserves and in what way Petro is pegged to the reserves.

“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela guarantees that it will accept Petro’s as a form of payment of national taxes, fees, contributions and public services, taking as a reference the price of the barrel of the Venezuelan basket of the previous day with a percentage discount of Dv,” read the original whitepaper of Petro, which failed to even mention that Petro represents ownership of the country’s oil reserves.

The intended obfuscation of its token sale and the entire structure of Petro by the Venezuelan government demonstrate a poor future for the cryptocurrency, especially considering that investors still do not know if the Venezuelan Petro is an ERC 20 token on Ethereum or a blockchain of its own.

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Flash, Flash, a Hundred-Yard Dash: Darkcoin's Rapid Makeover Revisited

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From Darkcoin to Dash, here we briefly examine the history of quarterly prices and market cap values of one of today’s most desirable altcoins
Flash, Flash, a Hundred-Yard Dash: Darkcoin's Rapid Makeover Revisited

Dash, short for Digital Cash, is undoubtedly one of today’s most sought-after cryptocurrencies. Having been founded in January 2014 by Evan Duffield, it entered the Blockchain market as Darkcoin and was renamed Dash in March 2015.

Currently fighting with IOTA for the 12th position by market cap with around 1.4 billion USD, it is simultaneously occupying the 5th position by unit price with close to 165 USD per each one of its coins. That makes Dash a major player on the global market with much envy from its rivals directed at how the company managed to reach such heights in both these categories.

Below is the first graph (logarithmic) that shows a complete history of Darkcoin/Dash’s market cap values by quarter, since the coin’s inception up until now:

Dash 1

The very first quarter saw a modest start with only 5 million USD. However, the cap value increased fourteenfold and reached almost 70 million USD the following quarter—the highest cap value Darkcoin will ever see—in part thanks to the aftermath of the second Bitcoin bubble.

The next few quarters saw mainly satisfactory but not brilliant performance, both for Darkcoin as well as its new face, Dash, in the first nine months of its existence. The first six months of 2016 saw Dash starting to approach the days of Darkcoin’s former glory in the second quarter of 2014, with close to 60 million USD.

The second half of 2016 saw Dash’s market cap exceed its previous record and almost reach 100 million USD. The growth continued into the third Bitcoin bubble, having reached 1.5 billion USD in the first half of 2017, and finally peaked at over 12 billion USD, settling for its absolute maximum value in the second half of last year. The subsequent wane ensued in 2018, at that point already foreseen and expected, which left Dash where it is today, with the respectable average of 2.3 billion USD for this year’s last two quarters combined and 1.4 billion USD as of right now, during sordid times of the bear market.

Below is the second graph (logarithmic) that shows a complete history of Darkcoin/Dash’s prices by quarter, since the coin’s inception up until now:

Dash 2

The situation here is fairly identical. Darkcoin started at almost 1.5 USD per piece in its first quarter and also saw a gigantic increase in the second quarter with the price reaching almost 16 USD. There was a sharp dip after that, followed by a period of relative stability for the next year or so with the price tag being stuck mainly between 3 and 4 USD a pop for both Darkcoin and its post-makeover version, Dash.

Finally, the first half of 2016 saw a rapid increase, and the second half saw the price almost touch its previous record from the second quarter of 2014. The growth continued in 2017, just before and during the aforementioned Bitcoin bubble period, and reached its maximum of over 1 500 USD. The subsequent decline came, which saw Dash find its current position of 275 USD (double quarterly average) and 165 USD as of right now, in the bear market.

Having moved from 5 million USD (market cap) / 1.5 USD (unit price) at the very start to almost 1.4 billion USD (market cap) / 165 USD (unit price) right now, Dash has clearly come a long way and done very well for itself. The Darkcoin has truly made a hundred-yard Dash in a flash, crypto-economically speaking.

We hope you found this information handy. Stay tuned for more.

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EOS Security Vulnerabilities: David Moss of Block.one Responds to 360 Report

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The claims made by Qihoo 360’s Vulcan team regarding EOS security may be exaggerated and unsupported
EOS Security Vulnerabilities: David Moss of Block.one Responds to 360 Report

The opinions expressed in this article are strictly David Moss’s own and not to be interpreted as speaking on the behalf of Block.one or any other entity.

As the planned June release of EOSIO 1.0 approaches, expectations and tensions are heating up.

Most recently, Monday’s news of possible security vulnerabilities detected by Chinese Internet security giant Qihoo 360 elicited strong responses from EOS supporters and opponents alike.

According to the Weibo post published by Qihoo 360 on Monday, high-risk security vulnerabilities in the EOS platform could enable remote attacks through the deployment of arbitrary code and insertion of malicious smart contracts into new blocks.

Such a security breach may give the attacker full control of the network’s nodes, affecting thousands of computers and accounts.

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The discovery of the security issues was made by Qihoo 360’s Vulcan team, and the wording of the report seems to suggest close collaboration by the Chinese security company with EOS to resolve these issues ahead of the EOSIO launch, but this may not be the case.

David Moss, senior vice president of Tech Operations at Block.one, the open source software publisher responsible for the EOSIO launch, provided comment to CryptoComes on the Vulcan findings

“The allegations were greatly exaggerated by Vulcan 360, as was their involvement with Block.one. They are only to want publicity for themselves and to create the impression they are working with Block.one. They are not. They also have no documentation to back up any claim they made.”

As always, investors and developers are responsible for doing due diligence when it comes to platform security.

The crypto media environment is as susceptible as mainstream media, if not more, to conflicting reports, sensationalism and news cycles used as marketing tools.

The release of EOSIO software has been one of the most eagerly expected events in the crypto community and the next few weeks are certain to put increased pressure on the EOS team to provide commentary on arising questions.

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How to Prevent Attackers From Hacking Blockchain Nodes: Professor of Cryptography Opinion

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“It looks like no one really tackles this problem right now- but they should”
How to Prevent Attackers From Hacking Blockchain Nodes: Professor of Cryptography Opinion

Sebastian Gajek is Professor of Cryptography and Information Security and founder of Weeve, a startup in the Berlin ecosystem that brings IoT and Blockchain together. We talk with Mr. Gajek about cybersecurity and vulnerabilities in crypto industry and community.

Cyril Gilson: What can be done to prevent from happening someone hacking nodes in Blockchain, the problem similar to what happened with EOS?

Sebastian Gajek: The recent attack against EOS is about using vulnerabilities in their software that allows to hack the nodes. The consequence was that the attackers could extract secret key material and this allows them to fully control the nodes. It is the worst thing that can happen to any consensus protocol.

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We have developed a very special operation system called the WeeveOS. It is an open-source project available on our GitHub. The operating system leverages cutting-edge security and privacy technologies. So, for example, we use a technique in order to isolate the secret keys from the rest of the operating system. This means in the case of EOS if WeeveOS operating system had been in place when the attacker compromised the nodes, they had got control over the nodes but were unable to extract the secret keys.  

This way you have more security and more trust in the network. We are going to release our operating system officially at Ethereum Dev Conference. A pre-release of the WeeveOS is already available through our GitHub.

We believe a lot of Blockchain technologies like EOS, like Ethereum, like HyperLedger really need to secure the nodes. It looks like no one really tackles this problem right now. This is bad because consensus protocols only work when one can trust the nodes. But for this you really need some super strong security technologies, otherwise, you will not get the trust by the quorum.

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Other vulnerabilities

CG: What other vulnerabilities do you see lately?

Sebastian Gajek: It’s like the general problem with cybercrimes: nodes are just some kind of programs, programs are written by humans and humans make mistakes. It’s natural right? Otherwise, humans would be machines.

Making mistakes is part of our genes. It looks that programming, for example, smart contracts, is like a new art.

People are now trying to understand what it really takes in order to program a proper smart contract. This is one main source where I see a lot of attacks and where devs really have to do better due diligence, take more care and verify whether the smart contract makes sense.

For example, ICOs might have fragile smart contract tokens and could be subject to those attacks.

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False smart contracts

CG: Could you give some examples of this?

Sebastian Gajek: The number one running example is the DAO. That was the greatest example, showcasing what happens if you design the smart contract in a false way. The result was clear, a lot of coins have been shifted differently than expected.

This is a canonical example showcasing you have to put a lot of care in designing smart contracts, and the same holds now for designing the programs that implement nodes. The attack I described against EOS is based on a similar problem. One where developers develop just design some kind of code and have not been careful enough.

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CG: Is there a way for individual investors in crypto to find out how secure is the system? Some indicators?

The point is the whole Blockchain technology is still  young in comparison to other IT industries. I see now first consulting companies building up exactly a kind of business to figure out whether a smart contract is vulnerable. Similar services have to be applied, for example in order to verify whether the nodes are also free from vulnerabilities.

Again this is ongoing work because people first of all have to learn how to properly program and then other people will build up services on top of that in order to verify whether the programming was correct.

Blockchain will change the Internet. It’s just a matter of time until these consulting companies will figure out there’s a huge cake, so they will hire specialists that do have the right skills, in order to give you a better understanding of what’s good or bad.

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CG: Before deciding whether to take part of ICOs or not, investors check the team, go over some lists, but I don’t think security is even in the top three points to check. What shall they do?

Sebastian Gajek: You are totally right, if I were an investor, I would really go through the points you mentioned, but I would also look who designed the contract. Because in the end, it’s all about reputation.

You really need to choose a smart contract design team that has a lot of credibility. That was one of the reasons why we have chosen to work together with ConsenSys because they have the leading experts in Ethereum development.

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